Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward Selected for National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program

PRINCETON, NJ – Princeton University Art Museum Director James Steward has been selected to participate in the National Arts Strategies’ Chief Executive Program as one of five Willard L. Boyd Fellows for 2011–2013. Steward is among 100 international “thought leaders” in the arts who have been invited to come together over the next two years to reimagine the ways in which cultural institutions can contribute to civil society.

National Arts Strategies (NAS) has been working with organizational leaders to increase capacity in the arts and cultural sector for more than 25 years. The Chief Executive Program is a multifaceted, two-year initiative designed to mine the collective talents of top executive leaders in the cultural sector to solve problems facing the field, including increased competition for leisure time and dollars and the challenges and opportunities of the information age. Through a series of intensive, cross-disciplinary workshops to be held over the next two years, these leaders will seek to position the cultural sector broadly for success in the coming century. 

“James is an outstanding leader in the field, and was identified by a number of prominent cultural figures as a charismatic and thoughtful chief executive. We are delighted that he will be taking part in this program, as we know he will bring insights to the other participants as well,” said NAS President and CEO Russell Willis Taylor.

Steward joined the Princeton University Art Museum as its director in April 2009. Prior to that time, he served for 11 years as director of the University of Michigan Museum of Art, where he was also a professor in the Department of the History of Art. He is an experienced museum professional with 20 years of service to the field, including work as chief curator of the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum. Steward holds a doctorate in the history of art from Trinity College, Oxford University, and an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. A specialist in the art of early modern Europe, he is a widely published scholar, teacher, and commentator on public cultural life.

“Cultural organizations are at an important crossroads where we risk becoming marginalized in the tumult of things competing for time and attention in a world of cyber noise,” said Steward. “I look forward to coming together with some of the most creative minds in the cultural field to consider how to ensure that art and culture remain central to our experience as human beings and play a role in citizenship building.”

Founded in 2002 as the successor organization to the National Arts Stabilization Fund, National Arts Strategies works with faculty from leading universities in the U.S. to develop and implement leadership programs for organizations from across the arts and cultural sectors. The Chief Executive Program was developed through the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Fidelity Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation.

About the Museum 
The Princeton University Art Museum, which was founded in 1882, is one of the nation’s leading art museums. Its collections feature more than 72,000 works of art ranging from ancient to contemporary, and concentrating geographically on the Mediterranean regions, Western Europe, Asia, and the Americas. The Museum collections are particularly strong in Chinese painting and calligraphy, art of the Ancient Americas, and pictorial photography.

Committed to advancing Princeton’s teaching and research missions, the Art Museum serves as a gateway to the University for visitors from around the world. The Museum is intimate in scale yet expansive in scope, offering a respite from the rush of daily life, a revitalizing experience of extraordinary works of art, and an opportunity to delve deeply into the study of art and culture.

The Princeton University Art Museum is located at the heart of the Princeton campus, a short walk from Princeton’s Nassau Street. Admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Free highlight tours of the collections are given every Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. The Museum is closed Mondays and major holidays. For information, call 609-258-3788 or visit the Museum’s Web site.